Lao prime minister visits IRRI
IRRI and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic reaffirmed theircollaboration in rice research, production and training during the April visit of Prime Minister Boun-nhang Vorachith to the institute.In addition to receiving briefings on IRRI’s research agendaand partnerships, Prime Minister Vorachith stopped at theExperiment Station to see the institute’s Long-Term ContinuousCropping Experiment (see Grain of Truth, page 30). The primeminister also visited the International Rice Genebank.IRRI and Laos collaborated on the Lao PDR-IRRI Researchand Training Project, funded by the Swiss Agency for Developmentand Cooperation, from 1990 to 1999. Siene Saphangthong, the Laominister for Agriculture and Forestry, served as a member of theIRRI Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2001. IRRI maintains a liaisonoffice in Laos.
Edwin Javier (
), acting head of the Genetic Resources Center, shows part of theGenebank germplasm collection to Prime Minister Vorachith (
) and Heherson Alvarez,secretary of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
New CURE for tacklingunfavorable environments
IRRI’s Research Program
(ImprovingProductivity and Livelihood for FragileEnvironments) recently shifted into highgear with the formation of the Consortiumfor Unfavorable Rice Environments(CURE). The new consortium merges theformer Rainfed Lowland Rice ResearchConsortium and the Upland Rice ResearchConsortium to further develop IRRI’s andits national partners’ ability to do strategicresearch and to achieve a greater impact infarmers’ fields.The CURE Steering Committee held itsfirst meeting in June in New Delhi, whereB.N. Singh, director of the Central RiceResearch Institute (CRRI) in Cuttack,Orissa, was elected chairperson. Othercommittee members are S.B. Siddique,director of the Bangladesh Rice ResearchInstitute; Andi Hasanuddin, director of theCentral Research Institute for Food Cropsin Indonesia; Soulivanthong Kingkeo,deputy director general of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institutein Laos; Leocadio Sebastian, executivedirector of the Philippine Rice ResearchInstitute; Sutep Limthongkul, deputy director general of the Department of Agriculture in Thailand; and Pham VanChuong, deputy director general of the Vietnam Agricultural Science Institute.CURE’s activities are implementedthrough six working groups, based on themajor rainfed subecosystems. Elected tolead four of the working groups were IRRIscientists Gary Atlin (drought-pronesubecosystems), V.P. Singh (submergence-and flood-prone subecosystems), SushilPandey (shifting cultivation systems in hilly Southeast Asia) and Casiana Vera Cruz(permanent cultivation systems inSoutheast Asia with long rainy seasons).Steering Committee Chair B.N. Singh willlead the salinity group, and P.K. Sinha, headof the Central Rainfed Upland RiceResearch Station in Hazaribagh, India, willhead the working group on permanentcultivation systems in South Asia. Groupleaders report to Tom Mew, consortiumcoordinator and Program
leader.The working groups include farmerorganizations, NGOs, extension agents, ricescientists and other stakeholders to ensurethat the technologies developed becomeavailable to farmers as early as possible.Integration across scientific disciplines isachieved by focusing research anddevelopment activities at eight key sites thatrepresent the major features of theunfavorable rice environments.
Thailand bullish on expandingresearch relations with IRRI
Expansion of IRRI-Thailand collaborationin rice research and production promises toresult from the June visit to the institute of
IRRI’s Communication andPublications Services won twosilver awards in the graphicdesign category of the 2002international competitionsponsored by AgriculturalCommunicators in Education.One award went to the set of four landscape posters (theposter shown here is Guilin,China, by Rob Kendrick), andthe other was for the jewelbox and CD design for theRiceIPM CD.
a high-powered Thai trade delegation led by Prachuab Chaiyasan, trade representativeand former foreign minister of the kingdom. Acting on specific instructions from PrimeMinister Thaksin Shinawatra, Mr.Chaiyasan and his delegation took specialinterest in IRRI’s current research agenda,the rice genome, the new plant type andprogress in biotechnology.Thailand is a major IRRI partner in riceresearch, collaborating on several ongoingprojects, such as the Consortium forUnfavorable Rice Environments, the AsianRice Biotechnology Network, the Inter-national Network for the Genetic Evaluationof Rice, and efforts to develop aerobic ricegermplasm for water-scarce tropicalenvironments and to improve livelihoodsand profitability for rice farmers innortheast Thailand.The delegation included high officialsof the Thailand Trade Representative Office,the National Center for Genetic Engineeringand Biotechnology, the Ministry of Science,Technology and Environment, the PatumRice Mill Granary Public Company Limited,and rice miller, exporter and farmerassociations.